A rich, dark, traditional
fruit cake that is enjoyed by everyone around the Yuletide
season. Rich fruit cakes need a month or two to mature,
so this recipe will need to be made way before 25th
December in order to be enjoyed on the day.
When the cake is ready it can either be covered
in the traditional way, by a layer of marzipan (almond
paste) covered by white icing, or simply topped with
glazed fruits and nuts.
Ingredients and Utensils
- 900 grams (2 lb) mixed dried fruit
- 75 grams (3 oz) glace (maraschino) cherries, halved
- 75 grams (3 oz) chopped almonds
- 75 grams (3 oz) ground almonds
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon brandy (optional)
- 250 grams (9 oz) plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 225 grams (8 oz) butter or margarine
- 225 grams (8 oz) soft brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon of black treacle
- 5 eggs (medium)
- baking tin (9 inch round or 8 inch square)
- large mixing bowl and wooden spoon
- grease-proof baking paper
How to Make Christmas Cake
- Prepare baking tin by lining it with grease-proof baking paper.
- Cream butter and sugar together.
- Add eggs one at a time with a spoonful of flour until all have been added.
- Beat in the treacle.
- Fold in the remaining flour, spices and ground nuts.
- Fold in fruit, nuts, cherries and stir in the brandy (optional).
- Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the surface.
- Protect the sides of the cake from burning with a double layer of grease-proof baking paper, tied around with string.
- Bake at 140 °C / 275 °F / Gas Mark 1 for 3.5 to 4 hours or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Allow to cool and store in an airtight tin until
- About ten days before Christmas cover the top
and sides of the cake with almond paste.
- Leave in a cool dry place until the almond paste is dry.
- Ice with royal or fondant icing and add cake decorations.
Why does fruit cake need to be
covered in marzipan?
The layer of marzipan is used to prevent the dark
juices of the cake from leaching through the icing
and spoiling the white colour. If any your guests are
unable to tollerate nuts then you can make the cake
without the nut/almond ingredients and use a
nut free marzipan, which is usually made using finely
ground semolina, sugar and butter.
If you don't wish to fully ice the whole
cake you can just ice the top and use a decorative
cake band to cover the sides (as shown above).
Christmas cake is very rich and should only be served in small portions. It is often offered to festive visitors with a glass of mulled wine or a sweet sherry.
Store in an airtight container. Cut small slices as required and return to airtight container to keep fresh.
Other recipes to try: Dundee Cake | Victoria Sponge | Recipe Index